Archive for the 'Civic Media' Category

Differing social media strategies of the Israeli Government

A video of air strikes in Gaza, from the Israeli Defense Forces Youtube Channel

In what might be the next iteration of government public relations during wartime, different parts of the Israeli government have recently created a range of social media sites. An IDF Youtube channel highlights videos from air strikes it is undertaking in the Gaza Strip, interspersed with clips showing humanitarian aid deliveries. Its blog contains posts about recent operations it’s engaged in and statistics on rocket attacks towards Israel, among other things. Following the US government’s embedded reporting program during the Iraq War, this is a logical step in information warfare, essentially cutting out any intermediary between the public and a government’s message.

I’m dubious, though, as to whether the Israeli government will have a net gain in its information war by moving into the social media sphere. Its success or failure will be dependent on it having a deep understanding of the environment in which it’s now experimenting, something I would definitely not assume of any government bureaucracy.

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How open is open?

open-for-questions1, the website of president-elect Obama, claims that it is Open For Questions. This new section on the site allows anyone willing to give a name and a zip code the ability to log in to both pose and vote on any question that they want the transition team to answer.

Obama’s staff has already proven its savvyness in understanding how to leverage new media to help make his campaign both one of the most effective and genuinely grassroots in recent history (though George W. Bush’s in ’04 qualified as both, it did not use tech near as competently, nor was social media in the same place then). Now it’s keeping its promise of continuing this process of engagement on

What’s been interesting to watch is how the site has evolved since it was launched a couple of days after the election. First it was just a couple of static pages, with one offering a space for input, encouraging you to “Share Your Story”. A couple of weeks later other interactive spaces were created where specific questions were posed about people’s opinions and experiences in regards to health care and the economy.

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If you're reading this, then you've reached the web log of Rafi Santo. This is my little slice of the internet where I can share my passion (or whatever) with the world.

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